Five of my level one circle of friends, all in their mid to late sixties, and all men, are in various stages of dementia. I am told that three are handling the diagnosis with equanimity, while two others seem to be in various sages of denial. Why this scourge at such an early age? Or has it always been thus, and my own advancing age has just made me more aware? I am frightened for my friends, and to be really honest, even more frightened for myself. I think I could cope albeit reluctantly with the limitations that come with physical infirmity, but the thought of mental impairment is terrifying. After all, I am a Triple A North American Boomer with none of the innate resignation present in more spiritually mature cultures. I do have my share of Catholic superstition and mythology , and when push comes to shove , I revert to a very simple faith stance, but I do not have that any of that sense of the cycle of life so obvious in Hinduism, and I regret that I don’t. I just keep on keeping on as if it and I will go on forever. How stupid of me; who ever said I was intelligent?
Of late I have developed an interest in those two 16 th century mystics Theresa of Avilla and John of the Cross. Both come from families of `Conversos`, Spaniards who converted from Judaism under threat. I am reflecting on the influence of the Kabbala on Christian mysticism, and am as always so appreciative and grateful for our Jewish roots. We still have much to learn from Rabbinic Judaism. One’s father remains one’s father even after one becomes an adult, and as all of know, there is much to be learned from our fathers.